With only two more weeks remaining on the regular season schedule, action picked up around the OUA as teams look to make one last push up the standings before the postseason.
Toronto Varsity Blues vs. Guelph Gryphons
As predicted, the battle between the league’s best and hottest teams was one of the tightest games of the season. A low-scoring affair at the Gryphon Centre was broken with just under three minutes to play in the third frame, when Sophie Rodenburg (Ottawa, ON) crashed the night and put home a rebound. Guelph would go on to win 1-0 in a game that only saw one penalty called, a cross-checking minor to Guelph’s Sophie Contant (Cornwall, ON). After recording just seven shots in the first two periods combined, the Gryphons were able to come on strong in the third, adding ten more shots and finally finding the back of the net. Guelph stays perfect at home, as they extended their winning game streak to nine.
PLUS / MINUS
Nipissing Lakers and Ryerson Rams – PLUS
The Nipissing Lakers started 2017 with two losses and since then, have won five of their last six, out scoring opponents 14-4 in that stretch. The Lakers have one of, if not the best blue line in the OUA, not allowing an even-strength goal against in over 300 minutes, spanning five games. Jackie Rochefort (Ajax, ON) has posted three shutouts in her last four outings as she sits third in the OUA in both goals-against-average and save percentage. On the other side of the ice, Kaley Tienhaara (Thunder Bay, ON) has led the way offensively, scoring five times while adding three assists in her last six games. To note, when the Lakers fell to Queen’s and UOIT in early January, Tienhaara was kept off of the scoresheet which really proves her value to this Nipissing team.
The Ryerson Rams are finally winners in 2017 after losing seven straight games and letting their playoff hopes slip away. The Rams were able to take down one of the toughest teams in the OUA, the Queen’s Gaels in a shootout at Mattamy Home Ice. Sydney Authier (Wallaceburg, ON) was stellar in the win as she made 25 saves and has now only allowed seven goals in her last five outings. Ailish Forfar (Toronto, ON) scored a beautiful goal in the shootout to end it. Ryerson sweeps the season series with Queen’s, winning both games by just one goal.
Queen’s Gaels – MINUS
The Gaels travelled down the 401 to London for a tilt against the Western Mustangs, with their eight game winning streak on the line. The Gaels have vaulted up the standings after starting the new year in a tie for the final playoff spot, however, this weekend did not go as planned. A 6-3 loss to the Mustangs followed by a shootout loss to the Ryerson Rams earned the Gaels only one out of a possible six points. With four games remaining in the regular season, including matchups with Windsor and Western, the Gaels don’t have it easy as they look to finish inside the top five in OUA points.
COMPLETE WEEK’S SCORES
Guelph 1 – 0 Toronto
Waterloo 2 – 0 Laurentian
Nipissing 2 – 0 Laurier
Western 6 – 0 Queens
Brock 4 – 2 UOIT
Ryerson 3 – 2 Queen’s – Shootout
Laurentian 3 – 0 Laurier
Nipissing 1 – 0 Waterloo – Overtime
Brock 3 – 0 York
NEXT WEEK’S KEY GAMES
Nipissing vs. Toronto | February 10th – 7:00 PM
A battle between number two and three on Friday night as the Nipissing Lakers travel to Toronto to take on the Varsity Blues. The Lakers are winners in five of their last six, and are coming off of two shutouts this weekend. They will be a tough team to beat down the stretch. Toronto on the other hand is great at Varsity Arena, posting a 6-2 home record this season. Along with the second best powerplay in the OUA, the Varsity Blues will prove to be a tough task for a red-hot Nipissing Lakers team.
Guelph vs. Waterloo | February 12th – 2:30 PM
The Guelph Gryphons have been unbeatable lately and will carry a nine game winning streak into Sunday’s matchup with the Waterloo Warriors, who are coming off an overtime loss to Nipissing. Guelph took down the Warriors 4-1 in early January, and have only been beaten once in their last 16 games—that loss coming back in November in a 1-0 game to Nipissing. The Warriors will be looking to not only snap the winning streak on the other side of the ice, but to show that they can compete with the league’s best as the playoffs inch ever closer.